If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Yucca Mountain science data are deemed valid

February 27, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 9

The basic science behind the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada remains sound, despite disclosures that government scientists working on the project failed to comply with quality assurance rules, the Energy Department said in a Feb. 17 report. DOE officials say infiltration-modeling work performed by U.S. Geological Survey hydrologists failed to meet department standards and is being redone at Sandia National Laboratories. "Despite the fact that the science is consistent, our quality assurance requirements were not met," says Paul Golan, acting director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. Meeting this obligation is necessary "for submitting a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We find it best to just replace this work." Nearly a year ago, DOE revealed that several USGS scientists had exchanged e-mails discussing possible falsification of quality assurance documents on water-infiltration research. Several investigations were launched, including one by DOE to determine whether the studies themselves had been compromised. Golan says the report "makes clear that the technical basis developed by USGS has a strong conceptual foundation and is corroborated by independently derived scientific conclusions." USGS concluded that the rate of water seepage into Yucca Mountain from rainfall was relatively slow and was unlikely to corrode waste canisters and potentially spread radiation to sources of drinking water.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.